Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown helped lead the charge for Postmodernism in America. Their Queen Anne chair – one of a series of flattened designs developed by the duo in the 1980s – injected humour into the furniture industry and is the next in our summer series on the controversial movement.
American architect Venturi became a key protagonist of Postmodernism after publishing his 1966 essay, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, and completing the Vanna Venturi house – credited as the first Postmodern building.
He married British architect and planner Denise Scott Brown in 1967, and the pair worked together to use their Postmodern principles to “turn around the culture of architecture” using a new way of looking a historical styles, according to Scott Brown.
Following a series of architecture projects, Venturi and Scott Brown decided to apply these ideas at a smaller scale. They created a range of chairs for Knoll in the early 1980s, at a time when Postmodernism was already filtering into design via the Memphis Group.
The duo’s aim was to make furniture that could be easily and cheaply produced – aligning with the ideas of Modernism – while offering a new take on the decorative elements of historic designs.
Unlike many architects and designers associated with Postmodernism, Venturi and Scott Brown avidly wave the flag for the movement they have spent their careers exploring and refining.
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